Six Questions: Anne Wheaton

You may know Anne from her appearance on TableTop. But you SHOULD know Anne from her work with #VandalEyes, which she created along with Bonnie Burton. VandalEyes is a crusade to bring googly eyes to things that need googly eyes. It’s been an inspiration to Jenn and I; here’s one of Jenn’s creations.

But let me let Anne speak for herself…

What’s your story?

At 23 years old, I had already been married, divorced and was living on my own as a single parent with two little boys. I put myself through cosmetology school at night while working as a waitress during the day. It was the hardest time of my life but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It made me a motivated, hard working, independent person. When I was 26, I met a 23 year old named Wil at a New Year’s Eve party a mutual friend of ours was having. We started dating, eventually got married and spent several years working our asses off to keep our family above water while my ex-husband tried his hardest to pull us all under. It is unfortunate that he spent the boys’ childhood doing that but Wil and I raised two fantastic young men out of that situation.

What was the inspiration for #VandalEyes?

As a kid, I would put googly eyes on crafts. I loved how it seemed to bring things to life. I hadn’t done anything with googly eyes in years and was re-introduced to them by Bonnie Burton when she stayed with us while filming an episode of Table Top in December 2011. I was instantly reminded how much I loved them when she put them on a few things around my house so I got my own supply. I came up with #VandalEyes on Twitter before attending a convention in Anaheim in January 2012 because I thought it was a funny way to tag vandalizing things with googly eyes. People always tell me they didn’t get what it meant for a long time until actually saying it out loud. Did I mention I like puns?

What are a few of your favorite #VandalEyes achievements?

The one that made me laugh so hard I had tears down my face was putting quarter sized googly eyes on Levar Burton at San Diego Comicon in 2012. He was so funny about putting these ridiculous eyes on but having a very serious face. On a different note, I am really proud of creating (with the help of my husband because I am the opposite of technology savvy) VandalEyes.net along with Bonnie Burton. We were posting so many pictures of our own that it seemed to inspire others to do the same. Pictures were constantly being sent to us on Twitter so we decided having a website where all of these pictures could be shared needed to happen. I love clicking on the archive link on the site and seeing page after page of all the pictures posted from all over the world all together. It is hilarious!

If you could vandaleyes anything in the world, what would it be?

The Statue of Liberty with appropriate sized eyes. Now THAT would be a tourist attraction for sure.

You star in an episode of Tabletop, playing Ticket to Ride with Wil, Colin Ferguson, and Amy Dallen. What’s your favorite game?

I love Scrabble. I don’t care about the score, I just love word games. I always play Scrabble when I get together with my girlfriends. It’s our time to visit with each other, have some good food and wine and play a game at our own pace. I’m not a very competitive person. It’s more about spending the time together doing something we all enjoy. I was playing Words with Friends but I had too many games going at once and the pressure to play my turn was too much so I stopped. I’d rather wait and play face to face. Bananagrams and Boggle are fun ones too.

As a Scrabble aficionado, is Words With Friends: The Boardgame a logical way to bring the online audience to the boardgaming world, or a money-grabbing abomination?

It does seem weird to me to make a board game version of Words With Friends but it kind of makes sense. When I first started playing Words With Friends it was really hard to get used to the board because I was so used to the Scrabble board. The generation of people introduced to Scrabble because of playing Words With Friends first must feel the same way about the Scrabble board. I suspect the board game was created to appeal to them which is fine. Scrabble really helped me learn words and learn how to spell when I was a kid. If anything, this is just helping a new generation do the same!

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

In December 2012, I retired from my 17 year career as a hairdresser. Tendinitis in my shoulder and both wrists made it painful and not enjoyable anymore. Plus, I was feeling like I wanted to do something else with my life. We do a lot of fundraising for charities so we decided to start our own charity foundation to fund various projects we have wanted to do for a few years. Within a week of retiring as a hairdresser, I was already working on our first project. It is so fun and so fulfilling to be doing this. We’re keeping each project a secret until it’s completed so this first project will be ready to reveal this upcoming August.

Since our kids are grown and out of the house, this also gives me the opportunity to travel with Wil more. We kind of did things in reverse of most couples. We started out raising kids so we feel like we’re in that honeymoon stage people have when they first get married.Still being relatively young and having the time to spend with our friends and family and have vacations just the two of us has been unbelievably awesome. I always tell people to make your marriage a priority while you’re raising kids because someday those kids will be out of the house. The relationship with your spouse lasts a lifetime so put in the effort!

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